Is the DEA About to Legalize Marijuana?

Reports of pot prohibition's death have been greatly exaggerated.


Fox News

Sometime soon, the Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to announce its response to the two most recent petitions asking it to reclassify marijuana. As I explain in my latest Forbes column, the imminence of that decision has given rise to unrealistic expectations:

Rumor has it that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) plans to legalize marijuana any day now. Rumor also has it that Barack Obama is secretly a foreign-born Muslim and that the CIA had a hand in the attack that brought down the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, that first claim is about as likely to be true as the other two.

It is true that the DEA has not responded yet to a pair of petitions asking it to reclassify marijuana, which since 1970 has sat in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the law's most restrictive category. Schedule I supposedly is reserved for drugs with "a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use," drugs that cannot be used safely even under a doctor's supervision. It is doubtful that marijuana meets any of those criteria, let alone all three. But the DEA, which has wide discretion to interpret and apply the CSA criteria, has always insisted that marijuana must stay in Schedule I until its medical utility is proven by the sort of large, expensive, randomized clinical trials the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demands before approving a new pharmaceutical.

While such studies have been conducted with marijuana's main active ingredient (which is how Marinol, a capsule containing synthetic THC, was approved by the FDA in 1985), and are under way with Sativex, an oral cannabis extract spray, they have not been conducted with the whole plant. The DEA's definition of "currently accepted medical use" creates something of a Catch-22, since marijuana's Schedule I status, together with the government's monopoly on the supply of cannabis for medical studies, makes conducting such research difficult. But there is little reason to think the DEA, having rejected three other rescheduling petitions, will change its mind now.

Even if the DEA did decide to remove marijuana from Schedule I, the result would not be, as the Santa Monica Observer reported on June 18, "legalizing medicinal cannabis in all 50 states with a doctor's prescription."

Read the whole thing.

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  1. “Is the DEA About to Legalize Marijuana?”


  2. No Friday Funny? Ok, how about this cartoon. Loretta Lynch in a pretty little blue dress ascending the stairs to an airplane on the tarmac. Next frame, Lynch descending the stairs with hanky at her mouth. Caption: It’s been wiped clean, like with a cloth.

    1. Brilliant. I laughed.

    2. Careful. Loretta has threatened people with prosecution for less.

      1. It’s not like I had here clutching a giant cigar.

  3. Is Jacob Sullum about to endorse the DEA?

    Is Shika Dalmia about to endorse Donald Trump?

    Is Ron Bailey about to deny Climate Change?

    Are monkeys about to fly out my ass?

    1. No.

      1. The last one is definitely no. I only have 1 ass-monkey.

  4. Since the war on drugs is not authorized by the US Constitution, the DEA is illegal.

    1. Since the war on drugs is not authorized by the US Constitution, the DEA is illegal.

      Uh, hello? General welfare, common defense, 9/11? It’s like you can’t even Constitution, bro.

      1. How do I get these soldiers out of my house?

  5. any cannabis-derived medicine would have to be approved by the FDA (based on the same kind of evidence the DEA has always demanded in response to rescheduling petitions) before a doctor could legally prescribe it.

    The FDA? You mean that organization that can’t decide about *hand-sanitizers*?

  6. When Obama was reelected I knew he’d continue to be shit, but I still had two hopes: that he’d back off on “border security”, and that he’d reschedule pot.

  7. If it was able to be done administratively with loperamide?it was?it can be done similarly with cannabis. It took several steps over a few years with loperamide until it was decontrolled entirely; it’s Imodium. With cannabis the treaty may require the whole plant and certain chemical components as such to remain controlled, but specific preparations of it (such as Sativex) could be exempted. The secretary of health and human services would also have to deem such a preparation non-habit-forming for it to be able to be dispensed without a prescription under the FFDCA and the state pharmacy laws.

  8. POT. MEN.

    1. *flog clap*

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